I will now explain exactly how to get there. What will you gain? Total chill and lack of stress when performing in front of an audience. Peace of mind and confidence when meeting new people. Perseverance in the pursuit of your goals. And most significantly, you are finally going to be the one to decide what you are going to do with your life.
Confidence is thinking in the right way and doing things in one’s head that are opposites of anxiety or of a fear of the unknown. You see, today fear sabotages all our actions. Dating back, when our ancestors fought for survival in the forests, fear was very important for the species to survive. Now, however, this feeling has affected most people’s lives and does not allow them to function normally.
In 99% of cases, fear is useless and irrational. Times have changed, and we fear the most ordinary, everyday situations. How many times have you been afraid of an exam or meeting new person? Think about it, have you ever benefited from it? It seems to me that you would have been much more successful in these situations if you had been calm and confident. The importance of confidence is much greater than the fact that it is useful in everyday life. Do you want to fulfill your dreams? Great achievements require bold actions. If you want to act with courage, you have to be confident.
More about dealing with such fear, see the article, Get rid of the fear of failure.
First, we will focus on stating what is self-confidence as an approach to the surrounding world. Changing the attitude and beliefs will give you confidence on a deeper and more permanent level. That’s what you should focus on the most (the first 3 paragraphs). Then I will describe some exercises on self-confidence on an emotional level. It is less stable, because it passes, but it can be really strong. Keep in mind then, that self-confidence can be an emotion, which, like, for example, a feeling of joy, may arise quickly and then go away as fast as it has appeared. It is crucial to learn how to evoke that boost of self-esteem. Most important for you, however, will be a change of your attitude towards yourself. There won’t be any room for anxiety or fear of the unknown. See more below.
Relationship with oneself
The basis of self-confidence is self-acceptance. This is crucial. Become aware of all your flaws and accept them. Appreciate yourself. You are an absolutely unique individual and you deserve to feel good about yourself. If you want to know what I mean, do the following exercise: think of all the reasons why you are proud of yourself. Think of everything, for example, your interests, a nice room that you have, cool friends, or even that you are good in volleyball. Even the fact that you are reading this article shows that you are motivated to make progress and to grow, and this is a great reason to be proud of yourself! Best thing to do is writing down all those positive thoughts that came to your mind - as many as you can. Your self-esteem will increase
Once you know your worth, it's time to change some beliefs. The biggest disease of mankind is the thought "what will others think?". How often do you do something against your own will, just because someone else might judge you? So many people let opinions of others control their own lives. You have to make a decision - you either want to decide about your life on your own, or let the others do it. People will think what they want, why would you care? Does it mean anything to you? You don’t want to wake up one day and look back at your life, realizing that it has been a result of "potential" thoughts and opinions of others. It’s my life and I want to decide for myself. Don’t you find it a little crazy to resign from your biggest desires and dreams just because someone might think badly of you (especially, since in most cases it won’t even happen)?
The first thing I do with the participants of my trainings connected to gaining self-confidence is changing the most limiting beliefs like "people will think I'm weird", "everyone will laugh at me", "They will look at me weirdly." These beliefs are the foundation of stress that arises when you want to take an action. Get rid of them, and you will take a really big step forward.
Actually, when you say what you mean and act without fear of what other people will think of you, you gain their respect and admiration. People see that you are confident in what you’re doing and what you’re saying and they respect you for that. So remember-it does not matter what others think about you and your behaviors. You decide about your life and its quality!
Below I am attaching some other beliefs, helping to stay confident. Those are really worth to be considered in your perception of the world. If you do not know yet what I mean by ‘beliefs’ and how to change them, be sure to check your knowledge of NLP. Neuro-Linguistic Programming can help you change permanently some clichés by which your mind works. In order to explore the principles of NLP get one of the books dedicated to this topic. Altering some beliefs is the key to form a truly self-confident attitude.
There is no failure, there is only feedback.
It’s me who decides how the opinions of others affect me.
It’s me who chooses how to feel in a given situation.
The person who hesitates and waits... and waits... Loses.
Meeting a new person is always a chance for a great relationship.
I am absolutely convinced of my value and uniqueness.
Expanding your comfort zone
Another issue is your comfort zone and its extension. Comfort zone is the range of behaviors and situations in your life where you feel comfortable, safe and secure. Things that are outside your comfort zone cause stress and uncertainty. For example, approaching strangers at parties in order to get to know them may be outside your comfort zone, but asking them the time may still be placed within your comfort zone.
The whole thing is about expandingone’s comfort zone and introducing novelties into one’s life constalty. Once something is included in your comfort zone, it will never cause stress or fear. How to expand your comfort zone? Only by doing things that are outside of your comfort zone will you be able to face them and eliminate stress and fear they were causing in the first place. Therefore, you should face everything that has ever made you uncomfortable. Try doing it everyday.
A few examples. Walk down the street smiling sincerely to strangers. While on a tram or a bus, hum a song clearly moving your lips. Visit places in the city where you've never been. Talk to people you don’t know in the street. Ask them for directions or opinion on any subject. Go through the supermarket with one hand raised in the air. Go to the club and meet people. Jump into a fountain.
Ok, I think you got it now :) Such "missions" are by far the best ways to increase your self-confidence. Once you go on those missions, you’ll expand your comfort zone quickly and permanently, and together with it your confidence will grow. And it applies to all areas of life. You want to be more confident performing in public? Perform in public as often as possible. With this approach, you'll feel much better in a great variety of situations. Remember to feel good and chilled while taking all of these steps to help your confidence grow even more.
Take a piece of paper and write down all the activities you are going to take up the following week. Choose from the ones suggested above or come up with your own and plan one for each day. Start with the smallest things (such as smiling at people in the street), and then select the more difficult tasks. You'll see that it seems to be hard only at the beginning. After a short period of time you'll actually feel like you are becoming more and more confident. One time, after one of the trainings I organized, I took the participants to the city center and convinced them to start doing things commonly considered as ‘weird’. It took them just an hour to break free from all their limits and feel confident about what they were doing.
Confidence as emotion
Another way to be confident is evoking the confidence by turning up the emotions. You can arrange it that in certain situations, you will feel an increase in courage and determination. Below you can find some exercises from the book by Paul McKenna titled "Supreme Self Confidence"that will help you get there:
- Imagine that you are sitting on a chair and there is a little more secure version of yousitting in front of you. Now imagine that you walk into the body of that person in front of you and for a moment you become them. Watch the world from their perspective and feel their emotions. Then allow yourself to see an even safer and more laid-back version of yourself in your own body. Impersonate this person, the new you. Repeat these steps a few times until you feel your confidence grew to its fullest.
- Think about a person who is very confident. This may be a movie character. Imagine a situation in which the person demonstrates these characteristics at their fullest. Then impersonate that character and act as if you were them for a few moments. See the world through their eyes. Leave her body and imagine yourself in any life situation behaving like this person.
- Practice in front of a mirror. Stand in front of a mirror. Throughout the first minute display in your imagination moving pictures with you in the leading role. See your future and the moments of success. See those images as vivid and colorful. Second minute: close your eyes and think of someone who loves you. Now open your eyes and look at yourself through the eyes of that person. Feel the sincere love. Throughout the third minute, compliment yourself. Talk to yourself with a loud inner voice and say only nice things. Do this exercise every day, you’ll only spend 3 minutes on it.
- Confidence and physiology.When you walk through the city, keep your back straight and your head up high, looking straight ahead. Go slower than usual. Be completely cool, take full long strides. Practice this attitude until it becomes a habit. Simply walking in that way will evoke an emotion of confidence in you, and you will be perceived by others as a confident, calm and determined person.
If you take action towards each and every aspect of self-confidence I have spoken about here, I guarantee you that your self-esteem will increase noticeably. It will help you grow in every sphere of your life. Let me know in the comments section below about the effects of your work!